Skip to comments.Graham: Reduce benefits for wealthy seniors
Posted on 01/02/2011 10:24:47 AM PST by rabscuttle385
Seniors should be older before the receive Social Security and wealthy Americans should receive less benefits across the board, says Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
He made the argument in an interview on Sunday's Meet the Press, but it's a position Graham has advocated for on the stump in South Carolina, including a 2009 stop at The Citadel with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
"What I'm going to do is challenge this country to make some hard decisions," Graham said at the time, telling the crowd of cadets, Tea Partiers, and Graham supporters that they shouldn't give Congress a pass on the tough stuff.
(Excerpt) Read more at charlestoncitypaper.com ...
I’ll make these thieving P’s OS a deal. Give me back a lump sum of what my portion of the SSI deduction has been to date, let me move it offshore where you lying thieves can’t touch it, EVER, keep my employer’s portion of this rip off, and stop taking any more of my money that you want to give to the AARP lobby, and we’ll call it even.
Yeah, the party’s over — maybe some of those that are still sucking down the cash from an unsustainable program should help clean up the mess. Instead, your plan is for those us that are still working to get cornholed. I respectfully decline.
Any more of this s-—t, I can dissolve my corporation, go sole prop and use chack cashing shops to live as much off the grid as I can. See how they like taxing somebody with 10k of reportable income instead of what the screw me out of now...
I’ll take that deal right now. But only if they stop taking any more of mY cash. My employer’s they can keep and keep taking.
>Theres a big difference between THIS Soc. Sec. Ponzi scheme and other Ponzi schemes, like Madoffs WE did not jump into it willingly. We were FORCED into it by this government. HUGE DIFFERENCE!
There is a difference between ‘we’ as in those who have always understood that Social Security was a ripoff ponzi scheme, and ‘we’ the general electorate that bought into the program and thought it was a magnificent idea.
Yes, the former ‘we’ didn’t just buy into it willingly. However given that we live in a democratic republic, the latter ‘we’ managed to take us along for the ride, and we had the option of like it or leave.
The government didn’t force the idea of social insurance on us. The program has been popular since its inception. It’s been so popular that no politician has been willing to take more than extremely modest steps to try and curb the train wreck that it entails.
There are plenty of examples of the government taking your money to no benefit whatsoever. In fact there are enough that it is clear why people are upset that Social Security is likely to be added to the pile (as it is, it gives you little benefit certainly compared to investing on your own). Though as long as most people still do get any benefits from Social Security, it will be untouchable.
RE: “Now that is just total BS. Unless and until the law is changed, we DO have a valid claim.
Tell you what you do. You lobby your congresscritter and I’ll lobby mine. We’ll see how it comes out.”
Good post! We DO still have a ‘valid claim!’
No, they weren't.
Let me try again to explain. The Social Security "trust fund" is literally a stack of special US Treasury bonds in someone's file cabinet in a government office. I wanted to link an article that I read about it recently, but haven't been able to find it.
Those US treasury bonds are real, and yield interest at the prevailing rates at the time each one was issued. What I've done is calculate the present value of a past stream of Social Security contributions, using the government's own information. I can provide you the URLs of historical interest rates, if you like.
Yes, if everyone had the option of spending it, many would have done so. But, they didn't, and the government invested it into Treasury bonds instead. Of course, in exchange for that piece of paper in the filing cabinet, the government then spent the money on everything else. But, that's no different than any other government bond.
In effect, every Social Security contributor has a partial interest in that stack of US Treasury bonds. What Lindsey Graham (I refuse to address him as Senator) is proposing is to default on those bonds for a small set of people with insufficient political power to prevent it.
And that's not much less than armed robbery, with Congress holding the gun.
Why does anyone think our kids have the money to pay our benefits? Out of all the culprits who had a hand in creating this Ponzi scheme, kids in their 20s and 30s are the least to blame. The older you are, the more you are to blame for not putting a stop to the scam in the 60s or 70s or 80s or 90s. In fact, those were the decades when benefits got jacked up fairly substantially.
No one is going to give you back the money you put into the system. That went to pay some dead persons benefits. That is the nature of a Ponzi scheme. That is like asking Madoff to simply give you back the money he invested for you—its is gone. Wasted in an earlier generation. This is a PONZI SCHEME. The nature of a Ponzi scheme is that your money isn’t invested—it goes to pay out a prior investor who is happy as a lark that they are getting a windfall. The last one in holds the bag and that is us. So do we act like a junkie begging, borrowing or stealing for one more fix or do we stop the insanity and each take a hit to our finances?
I certainly agree with you and your post was so well said. RE: “My husband is drawing ss now tho he is still working. I will be eligible in another year. I certainly hear the difference in arguments depending on the age of those debating this subject. You are right. The younger people make it sound as though we are taking from them and are leeches. They have no idea what it feels like to have paid into the system for a lifetime then be told you get nothing back possibly.”
Entitlement? I just don’t buy it.
The politicians have been spending our payroll taxes from all working Americans that should have been lock-boxed through the years instead for waging war and running government for everyone from the poor to the wealthy.
The SS surplus that they stole served the very rich too who paid no payroll tax because their income was all from investments. Now that there is no surplus to take and spend for their pet pork and projects ( and the Rs are as bad as Ds) they want to start cutting benefits. Before they start cutting benefits they had better start cutting special exemptions and foreign aid.
Since there is no legal tie to those US Treasury bonds, it is only a moral crime, not a legal robbery.
RE: “Those of us at or near retirement age are going to be dead when the s___t hits the fan. Our kids are going to be the ones living in a country with crushing taxes to pay interest on debt held by the Chinese or in a country that defaulted on its debt. Look at Greece—that is the US after you and I are dead.”
It was your personal choice to have kids. YOU provide for them — my tax dollars have already been propping up others for over 35 years. Enough already.
>Before they start cutting benefits they had better start cutting special exemptions and foreign aid.
You haven’t read all the posts have you?
As has been mentioned before (many times), sure you can cut all that stuff you mention. It won’t even come close to making a dent, and we’re back to dealing with the real problem which is the entitlements.
This completely excludes the fact that the dollar in ‘64 had vastly greater purchasing power than it does today. That $174 then is worth $1228.14 now, according to the governments own numbers. The COLA and benefit increases since supposedly take that into account, but I don't buy it.
So it is less a matter of ‘are you going to get all you put into it back out?’ (objective answer: no) but a matter of who is going to pay for it down the road.
Means testing isn't going to do it, and it will punish those who put the most into the system. The idea is a nonstarter. The question now has to be asked “Who in the future won't be getting SS when they retire”.
I was speaking metaphorically. The younger generation is providing for you, not the other way around. The taxes you paid for Social Security were not invested. You don’t have an account. The taxes paid some senior’s benefits in the 60s or 70s or 80s or 90s. That money is gone. You may want to believe there is some account somewhere but there isn’t. That is the nature of a Ponzi scheme. You paid in, it was paid out to someone else. Now someone has to pay in to support you. The system is not sustainable. There is no money to pay benefits to you at the currently stated rates. Either taxes are raised on young people or we borrow someone more, which will be paid by young people. That is what I meant.
I think you hit the wrong post.
I found it! It was just a matter of using the right search terms:
Remember Al Gore's "lockbox," the one he was going to use to protect Social Security? The former vice president talked about it so much during the 2000 presidential campaign that he was parodied on "Saturday Night Live." Gore lost the election and never got his lockbox. But to illustrate the government's commitment to repaying Social Security, the Treasury Department has been issuing special bonds that earn interest for the retirement program. The bonds are unique because they are actually printed on paper, while other government bonds exist only in electronic form.
They are stored in a three-ring binder, locked in the bottom drawer of a white metal filing cabinet in the Parkersburg offices of Bureau of Public Debt. The agency, which is part of the Treasury Department, opened offices in Parkersburg in the 1950s as part of a plan to locate important government functions away from Washington, D.C., in case of an attack during the Cold War.
One bond is worth a little more than $15.1 billion and another is valued at just under $10.7 billion. In all, the agency has about $2.5 trillion in bonds, all backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. But don't bother trying to steal them; they're nonnegotiable, which means they are worthless on the open market.
The national debt - the amount of money the government owes its creditors - is about $12.5 trillion, or nearly $42,000 for every man, woman and child in the country. About $8 trillion has been borrowed in public debt markets, much of it from foreign creditors. The rest came from various government trust funds, including retirement funds for civil servants and the military. About $2.5 trillion is owed to Social Security.
Good luck to the politician who reneges on that debt, said Barbara Kennelly, a former Democratic congresswoman from Connecticut who is now president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. "Those bonds are protected by the full faith and credit of the United States of America," Kennelly said. "They're as solid as what we owe China and Japan."
>It was your personal choice to have kids. YOU provide for them my tax dollars have already been propping up others for over 35 years. Enough already.
Funny, without those kids you deigned not to have, nobody would be there to pay for your Social Security benefits.
OK, let's try again. We can talk all day about how Social Security works and the mistakes that have been made. I could bore you to death with all the details that I've accumulated over the past 30 years.
I was simply correcting your assertion that the future value of Social Security benefits exceeds the present value of your contributions (for most people). That's not true, and it hasn't been so for quite a while. The early recipients did quite well, and some of the beneficiaries that retired in the 60's, 70's, and 80's did well because the legislated increases in benefits (both overt and COLA) pushed their benefits beyond an actuarilly-insustainable level -- which is what got us in this mess.
It's not as simple as adding up your contributions (real or hypothetical). You have to account for the time value of money, using historical data and/or an accepted future discount rate. I'm not an actuary, nor do I play one on TV. But, if you really want all the details, you should consult one.
And yet, the amount that will be paid in by people in their 20s and 30s will be much less than the benefits they receive. The older you are, the more you get out of the system. People at or near retirement age look at what they paid in and legitimately say its not fair that they should get their benefits cut since they are simply getting out what they paid in. That is understandable but ignores the point that there is no good outcome here where everyone gets their "investment" back. If today's retirees or those close to retirement get benefits at current levels, the younger generation will be completely screwed.
So the issue is how to we make the system sustainable and share the sacrifice that will be necessary? The money that was paid in is gone. There is no vault with cash in it that can be opened to pay benefits whether its a share of a Treasury bond or some other promise to pay. The cash will come from taxes. So the question still is, is it fair to ask young people to pay for the current level of benefits for old people or should the pain be spread around? My answer is that the burden should fall more heavily on older people because young people did not create this mess.
I’m wondering if those on this thread who are squawking that “we have to do something right now” are underwater on a bunch of puts for June 2011 ten-year treasuries.
Here’s a one year chart on that particular note.
Do away with all or most social programs and cut the Fed down to military funding only. Social programs are nothing more than political footballs used for perpetual re-election of ticks on the system like Goober Grahamnesty.
Interesting read. It does not change the following:
1) Social Security is just another federal government expenditure - although one of it’s largest.
2) Current federal expenditures are a whopping 145% of revenue (45% deficit)
Even if there are a stack of T-Bills in a drawer it does not change those two points!
Excellent points. I think a lot of the outrage on this thread is due to SS benefits being discussed as the first step in reducing the deficit.
Why not start with all the "drops in the bucket" that could well total over $100 billion per year?
Go after illegals, cull the welfare rolls, quit subsidizing pet projects, no more foreign aid, no more foreign bases, etc...
Does anyone really think that Graham (or any other politician) will make the rest of the cuts necessary to get spending under control after they lower SS costs? HECK NO! They'll call the money saved a "surplus" and spend it on something else. Anyone who believes different hasn't been paying attention to how our government works.
I will try this again.
1) When do you think we need to do something about the unsustainable spending?
2) What percentage of government spending
3) Based on 2010 numbers, should be cut from now to 2015?
4) Do you think we should keep increasing social security spending? (I’m talking real dollars, not per individual)
I will answer any question you have factually. Could you please answer the questions above?
Ha! You’re funny. But not really in a good way.
Yes the situation is getting worse. But, it can't get much worse -- we passed the point of no return a while ago.
People at or near retirement age look at what they paid in and legitimately say its not fair that they should get their benefits cut since they are simply getting out what they paid in.
To be clear, I'm not suggesting that. Someone up-thread suggested it, and I responded that would be even more expensive than just paying the benefits as currently legislated.
If today's retirees or those close to retirement get benefits at current levels, the younger generation will be completely screwed.
Actually, it's more than just the "younger generation". Everyone gets screwed.
So the issue is how to we make the system sustainable and share the sacrifice that will be necessary?
The only way that we can make Social Security sustainable is to either reduce benefits or raise taxes so that the income covers expenses. There is no middle ground.
Raising taxes would be economic suicide. And, it was tried 30 years ago and it only postponed the inevitable.
he money that was paid in is gone. There is no vault with cash in it that can be opened to pay benefits whether its a share of a Treasury bond or some other promise to pay. The cash will come from taxes.
So is every other dollar in government bonds. And I ask again: why should Social Security contributors be the ones to forgive their share of government debt? What about the civil service pensioners, or investors holding bonds?
So the question still is, is it fair to ask young people to pay for the current level of benefits for old people or should the pain be spread around? My answer is that the burden should fall more heavily on older people because young people did not create this mess.
No, they didn't create this mess. But, neither did I. I wasn't even voting age the last time Social Security was "rescued", and I've been paying for it ever since. The only viable solution is to reduce benefits to a sustainable amount.... gradually, while we still have those Social Security bonds to fund it. We have to get benefits down to a point that can be funded by payroll taxes on a year-to-year basis, and adjust benefits to handle income. In other words, run it like a real pension plan.
Current forecast is that the "trust fund" will be exhausted in 2040. After that, taxes can only fund about 75% of legislated benefits. So, that gives us 30 years to reduce it by 25%. The date would slide out to a bit later as benefits are reduced. Less than 1% per year could be met by simply subtracting that amount off the COLA.
Frankly, I'd like to see Social Security completely replaced with a private system. But, I don't think it is politically possible.
However, the kind of reductions I've suggested above would require a hard look at beneficiaries, and how benefits are calculated. Making disability a separately-funded program would be a good start, as would reducing benefits when survivorship is included.
[An aside: this is how traditional defined benefit plans work. When you retire, you can opt for a monthly benefit of $X, or a monthly benefit of $X-Y if you wish survivor benefits for a spouse. The calculation takes the age of retiree and spouse into account. A single recipient gets a larger benefit. A married two-income couple might choose two single benefits, etc.]
These adjustments would put the system back on an actuarially sound basis. It wouldn't be "dead", but at least it wouldn't be a giant sucking wound anymore.
Look Mr. al-again2010,
Advocating any kind of “Means Testing” for Social Security Payments, is just flat out “Communism”
Any conservative on this board, is against any kind of Socialism/Cummunism and redistribution of wealth, which is what “Means Testing” is, for any program.
You say “As painful as it is, the spending to prolong and improve the quality life of the elderly needs to be reduced.”
So, you are for “Death Panels” You really don’t know anything about how to reduce healthcare costs. All that has to happen is for a system where people pay their own way for healcare treatments. They carry a cadastrophic insurance policy for large amounts. It needs to be run, just like your home insurance or car insurance. You only get coverage for emergencies and large $$ amounts.
That will bring down healthcare costs.
“Death Panels”, is exaclty what the liberals and socialists want, and you cannot see that.
Then they don't give it back.
If an 'operation' like that is run from a Walmart parking lot it's called "scamming the elderly" and the perpetrator(s) can go to prison...
... if it's run out of the Capitol building in Washington, DC, then the perpetrators can vote themselves pay raises from the proceeds -- and then take even MORE money, from the SAME people, the following year.
Where to begin...
Communism - look up the definition
Social Security - This is the essence of socialism
Death Panels - again, Medicare is the essence of socialism. I am not for death panels, I am for seniors being responsible for their own health care costs and having individuals decide the cost/benefit of quality of life health issues. The government simply cannot afford to keep paying these costs (socialism).
As you can see, your arguments are contradictory. Do you want socialism or do you think programs like social security, medicare, and medicaid to be eliminated?
I was commenting on your acceptance of “Means Testing” That is REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH, or moving toward Socialistic/Marxist Principles.
I don’t believe in Social Security being a forced retirement system. People should have the “Freedom” to choose whether they want 12-13% with employers contribution, given to the government for this retirement program or opting out, and not getting a dime of social security when you get older.
To me, Social Security is outright theft. I can manage my own retirement for my family and I. I will take the risks if I am wrong. I don’t need the Nanny State to try and manage my retirement.
Social Security is Socialism and a Ponzi Scheme, and should be eventually cut off completely and terminated. It is also not Constitutional for the Federal Gov. to impose this social program on all citizens.
They should then have an optional retirement system.
You also said “I am for seniors being responsible for their own health care costs and having individuals decide the cost/benefit of quality of life health issues. The government simply cannot afford to keep paying these costs (socialism).”
Under the current gov. run medicare medicaid system, if people continue to make their own decisions, the country will go bankrupt.
We need an entire new Healtcare System, based on Free Market Principles.
I believe that eventually Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid should be eliminated and replaced by Free Market Principles and Programs.
As long as it is admitted that the law may be diverted from its true purpose that it may violate property instead of protecting it then everyone will want to participate in making the law, either to protect himself against plunder or to use it for plunder. Political questions will always be prejudicial, dominant, and all-absorbing...
Is there any need to offer proof that this odious perversion of the law is a perpetual source of hatred and discord; that it tends to destroy society itself? If such proof is needed, look at the United States [in 1850]. There is no country in the world where the law is kept more within its proper domain: the protection of every person’s liberty and property. As a consequence of this, there appears to be no country in the world where the social order rests on a firmer foundation.
—Frederic Bastiat, “The Law” 1850
I think we’ve pretty much wasted each other’s time here. You’re not going to change my mind, nor will I change yours.
You do what you have to do and I shall do what I have to do.
How about cutting out handouts to able-bodied people who are on the take for generations. There’s the biggest problem.
The other welfare
A legacy of unintended side effects
As the Globe investigated the surge in SSI cases mostly by visiting housing projects, Social Security offices, and downtown districts many parents were reluctant to talk, fearful of losing this coveted benefit. Still, some two dozen families agreed to be interviewed, in part to vent their frustration at what they perceive to be the governments arbitrary approval process in mental disability cases. Some wanted only their first names to be used as they described their persistent efforts to figure out what Social Security wanted, and their growing conviction that medication for the child was a critical step.
Waiting on a bench in a rundown commercial strip of Lawrence, Yessenia was among the frustrated.
The 28-year-old woman said late last summer that she will be trying, for the third time, to obtain SSI payments for her 7-year-old son based on his ADHD symptoms: impulsivity and inattention.
Yessenia said she is convinced her sons first two applications were rejected because she had nothing to list in the section labeled medications.” But in recent months, she has convinced the boys doctor to write a prescription. Her son is now taking a stimulant often used for ADHD.
If you child doesnt have medications, the SSI office thinks he doesnt have any big problem,” she said.
Yessenia and her extended family have long experience with the SSI program. As a child, she said, she qualified for SSI based primarily because of learning disabilities, and after her 18th birthday, she requalified as an adult on the same basis. Her older sister, diagnosed with bipolar disorder, has been receiving SSI benefits since childhood.
Yessenia said she has other reasons to be optimistic that her sons new application will be approved.
Since he was denied all the time, the therapist said shed give him another diagnosis, and thats when she said hes got depression,” said the mother, who has yet to submit the new application. Shes also recommending another drug.”
Easy solution, just eliminate COLA to all recipients with household income above the poverty line. Reduce starting benefits 10% for (2011) age 65, 11% age 64, etc. Raise retirement age to actuarial life expectancy plus one year or legitimate disability.
Over time, all recipients will be limited to payments providing only enough to live at just above the poverty line.
This should result in enough savings that FICA can be lowered until Social Security becomes what it should have been all along - Old Age Insurance. That should cost about 2% from each the employer and the employee on the first 100K of income.
Privatize everything else using Chile as a model. Social Security payouts should not be a source of retirement income for anybody, it should only be enough to keep you from starving. Anything above that level should be based on your personal initiative and the family and community you cultivate during your life.
I’ll give you an alternative view while I zip up my asbestos suit here.
There is some validity to Linda’s position. But making the wealthy pay a percentage of their income and then paying them a lesser percentage at a later time is indeed a tax increase. There are no if’s, and’s or but’s about that, and it’s wrong. But the idea of paying less to people who don’t depend on it for their sustenance is not a bad idea. It’s really no different from the notion of not paying people to not work at all or do pump out kids they can’t afford that the rest of us pick up the tab for. It’s all wasteful and doesn’t need to be if we just say, “Hell NO!”
Cash out those with incomes high enough that they would be impacted down the road by reductions with a lump-sum refund of what they paid in and a reasonable interest rate on what they paid in and leave them to their own devices, which is probably what they wanted in the first place way back when. Raise the retirement age and change the entire structure of SSI and all the other welfare programs attached to the social security program umbrella. Completely revamp the entire program with the focus strictly on waste and fraud. After restrucuring and implementing new safeguards, fire half the federal SSA staff, delete those jobs and cut the SSA budget in half.
Now, fire away!!!! ;)
Go after illegals, cull the welfare rolls, quit subsidizing pet projects, no more foreign aid, no more foreign bases, etc...
I agree totally. Thanks for the reply. When I hear the incompetent politicians who have over the last 30 years succeeded in sending the greatest manufacturing economy on Earth to China, and say their pet pork project or foreign aid only represents 1% of GDP or budget it drives me nuts. These are compromised corrupt fools for the most part.
We need symbolism of austerity from everyone in government and we need real expense cuts. BUT before Americans are cut we must end foreign aid (and Federal Reserve handouts) to every other and that includes Israel, Ireland, Germany, Egypt and all of our so called allies. We need to end the entitlements to them now and get rid of the military bases unless they pay us fully for our defense costs.
Politicians work only for lobbyists, elitists and big NY money interests and they do not care about average law abiding hard working citizens. I'm in pretty good shape financially only because I've always been fiscally conservative and invested conservatively and I live beneath my means, and most importantly have lived in the USA instead of Somalia. The latter is a real big deal when I hear some people tout just how wonderful they are in getting rich. Had they lived in Somalia they'd have nothing. They OWE this country big time.
Illegals are a huge entitlement expense for health, education, etc and they are here only because they work cheap and provide profits to corrupt businesses. End the jobs and entitlements and they will go back home and it would save us more billions. I'm for hanging the employers of these people and that will stop it. I don't trust Rs to take care of this and never the Ds. Sorry for the length of this but it really ticks me off that the politicals such as Graham etc are honing in on Americans first instead of the foreign interests sucking and living on our dole.
I hear you.
OK, you're fired. Wow, that wasn't that hard at all...
I believe he’s gone.
I do think it’s a nice gesture, but it is ultimately pointless either way. Congressional salaries are currently at $174,000 a year (if I remember correctly). Most congressmen are fairly wealthy as it is. No one will be woken up to do anything.
Here's the conservative way.
1.) Stop FICA collection.
2.)Cash everybody out based on a minimal annuity value and not the ponzi scheme value.
3.)Make everyone, across the board, pay for the ponzi scheme shortfall.
The joke's on you.
Did you keep voting for the same politicians who spent your SS/Medicare "contributions" on pointless exercises in Big Government, and yes, that includes (but is not limited to) a bloated, top-heavy military organization and countless foreign entanglements and adventures)?
The problems inherent in Social Security and in Medicare has been known for decades, yet nobody did anything about them. Unfortunately, it's far too late in the game for a nice, painless "solution," and I can assure you that younger Americans with actual brains won't stick around to get raped by Fedzilla like their predecessors did.
Excellent point. It would be very misleading when such a mere pittance means nothing to them. They need to be hit in such away as to feel the pain.
68% of "younger Americans", voters in the 18 to 24 age group, voted for Obama.
I wish you were correct but I see the once great independent culture of us Americans as being brainwashed and hijacked by a consolidated corporate media, big government and a corrupt bunch of politicians. Some think that this guy has it nailed. Warning it ain’t pretty and don’t watch if you don’t like 4 letter words. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q
Precisely, and the same principle was mentioned above. For sure, the fact that 100K$ was paid in is no guarantee of receiving 100K out. That is actuarial, and is central to the whole system. But yes, reduce the payouts across the board according to what was paid in, in terms of the pot at a given point in time. Now there should be some provision for the freeloaders; however, it should not be over weighted to screw-up the system. Freeloader payout should not based on kids, or any other parasitic criteria. One adult = one payout as an adult, and as a freeloader, at a very minimal level (nothing that invokes motivation to do so).